Skip to main content

Philippines military frees final hostages, still pursuing rebels

By CNN Staff
updated 1:28 PM EDT, Fri September 27, 2013
Soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of policemen who died at the Zamboanga rebel attack in Mindanao. The coffins arrive at Villamor airbase in Manila on September 25. Fighting between rebels and soldiers in the city has entered its third week. Soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of policemen who died at the Zamboanga rebel attack in Mindanao. The coffins arrive at Villamor airbase in Manila on September 25. Fighting between rebels and soldiers in the city has entered its third week.
HIDE CAPTION
Deadly fighting in the Philippines
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Philippines military says all hostages freed from separatist group in Zamboanga
  • Troops killed 15 rebels, freed six hostages in overnight fighting, spokesman says
  • The military says it's sweeping the region for any remaining rebels

(CNN) -- The hostage standoff between Philippines forces and separatist rebels is over, a military spokesman said Friday.

Government forces killed 15 of the rebels and rescued six hostages in fighting that began Thursday and lasted into early Friday, Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

The freed hostages told troops they believe no one else is being held by the separatist group, the Moro National Liberation Front, which took 180 people hostage in the coastal city of Zamboanga more than two weeks ago.

Efforts to negotiate the hostages' release failed, resulting in intense bursts of fighting that had left 158 people dead as of Thursday, including 125 members of the MNLF, the government-run Philippines News Agency said.

Reporter: Not sure if my home is standing
Philippine forces, rebels resume clash

Troops have captured 186 rebels and are now in a clearing operation to sweep the region of any remaining rebels, Zagala said.

"We have severely diminished the numbers of the faction, but we will not rest until we have cleared the area," he said.

The rebels are part of the MNLF, a separatist movement founded in 1971 by Nur Misuari with the aim of establishing an autonomous region for Muslims in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

The MNLF signed a peace deal with the central government in Manila in 1996, but some of its members have broken away to continue a violent campaign.

At least 3 dead in Philippines bombing

CNN's Tim Schwarz, Kathy Quiano and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
updated 1:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
It's hard not to be nervous, standing outside the Ebola isolation wards.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 5:16 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis".
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
ADVERTISEMENT